My Craigslist Friend

Have you ever noticed God uses the unconventional? A while back, right after we took a year sabbatical I needed to figure out what I was going to do with the next season of my life and so through a series of events I began buying and selling a certain brand of vehicle parts on craigslist. 

Over a period of time I developed some relationships and had a few repeat customers, one was a guy (Forrest) who I met in a parking lot in Surrey. 

He called one day and asked if I’d be willing to haul a truck from a small town called Hope to my yard in Chilliwack where he wanted to pay me to not only fix the truck but to teach him a few things about mechanics. 

I agreed and we set a date. He was waiting for me in Hope (45 min drive for me) and on the way I was having one of those worship services where the crowd was one plus Jesus. (I’ve always liked the name of that town) 

I arrived, we loaded up and in a few minutes we were on our way. It didn’t take long for the topic of God to come up, it just happened in a way I did not prefer or expect.

We pulled onto the highway and picked up speed… doing about 80 KM when I felt the first wobble. It was subtle for only a nanosecond, and then it turned vicious! 

Forrest said loudly , O S…. and I remember him putting one hand on the dash and bracing the other on the ceiling. For those who are fortunate enough to have never experienced or have no idea of what this violence I’m talking about is. Here’s a brief description. 

When the trailer behind a vehicle is loaded incorrectly, too heavy towards the back of the trailer it can become unstable at speed and will begin to push the tow vehicle where ever momentum is directing. 

In my case it was so violent that at one point I saw the trailer was up on one side , air time between the wheels and the road. I should draw a picture….

Here’s a short video describing (This could save someone a lot of trouble on Summer vacation) 

This episode lasted a few seconds, felt like a lifetime and in 99% of these cases it ends in tragedy, in fact I’ve never heard of one ending well. Usually the vehicle rolls over ~ thus the reason Forrest was bracing himself on the ceiling. He knew the stats! 

I, for some unknown reason, knew that hitting the brakes makes it worse, in fact you have to do the opposite of what feels right. You need to decelerate slowly and in some cases slight acceleration with proper brake application can save it . I had the semblance to accelerate in a rhythm , perfectly timed, and as soon as the vehicle straightened out I’d back off. This took four lanes  (Two oncoming) and a few hair raising moments. (For those brief seconds there were no oncoming vehicles) 

When the chaos was over Forrest turned to me and asked “Who the hell are you and where did you learn to drive?” I was shaking, and really felt sick to my stomach, it was not the way I’d envisioned this worshiping day to go. 

After adjusting the load we nervously pulled back onto the highway. The rest of that trip I got to know Forrest, and he got to know me in a way only trauma survivors can. Forrest was stunned, and after admitting to him I had been praying the whole way there, he said matter of fact  ~ “You must have a direct line to God?”  We are now good friends and he and Natasha hang out with Jane and I as often as schedules allow. 

I feel like I get to be pastor to people in a totally different way than I thought possible. I meet people in strange and obscure ways and in reality it’s all God.

I share this with you for two reasons.  Be safe as you travel about this Summer, especially if you pull a trailer and… be aware of Gods plans even when you are phoning a stranger on Craigslist.


Chris Wiens